Topic: Religion/Falun Gong
Reports of forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other political prisoners in China have raised increasing concern within the international community. According to a report by former lawmaker David Kilgour, human rights campaigner David Matas and Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation researcher Ethan Gutmann, political prisoners, mainly Falun Gong practitioners, may be executed "on demand" in order to provide organs for transplant to recipients.
Reports on systematic organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners first emerged in 2006, though the practice is thought by some to have started six years earlier. Several researchers—most notably Matas, Kilgour and Gutmann—estimate that tens of thousands of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience have been killed to supply a lucrative trade in human organs and cadavers and that these abuses may be ongoing. These conclusions are based on a combination of statistical analysis; interviews with former prisoners, medical authorities and public security agents; and circumstantial evidence, such as the large number of Falun Gong practitioners detained extrajudicially in China and the profits to be made from selling organs.
The Chinese government long denied all accusations of organ harvesting. However, the failure of Chinese authorities to effectively address or refute the charges has drawn attention and public condemnation from some governments, international organizations and medical societies. The parliaments of Canada and the European Union, as well as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, have adopted resolutions condemning the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience. United Nations Special Rapporteurs have called on the Chinese government to account for the sources of organs used in transplant practices, and the World Medical Association, the American Society of Transplantation and the Transplantation Society have called for sanctions on Chinese medical authorities. Several countries have also taken or considered measures to deter their citizens from travelling to China for the purpose of obtaining organs. A documentary on organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners, Human Harvest, received a 2014 Peabody Award recognizing excellence in broadcast journalism. China eventually admitted that it had engaged in systematic organ harvesting from death row prisoners, though it denies that such an organ harvesting program is ongoing.